Gillespie Edges Ahead as Virginia’s Governor Race Nears
It looks like Republican Ed Gillespie has a leg up on his rival and current lieutenant governor Ralph Northam in the election for Virginia’s governor.ship
Gillespie’s campaign has effectively painted Northam as soft on crime due to his loose immigration policies that have led to an increase in gang violence.
“MS-13 is a menace, yet Ralph Northam voted in favor of sanctuary cities that let dangerous illegal immigrants back on the street, increasing the threat of MS-13,” says the narrator in an ad by Gillespie’s campaign.
Northam’s campaign, on the other hand, has responded with some low blows about Gillespie saying his policy plans are rooted in hate.
“Is this what Donald Trump and Ed Gillespie mean by the American dream?” says the narrator for the ad by Northam’s campaign as visuals of the Charlottesville protests are shown with neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan members.
The controversial ad started to circulate on Monday in both Spanish and English.
Cristóbal J. Alex, president of Latino Victory Fund, has expressed similar sentiments and criticized Gillespie’s strict stance on immigration and has gone far enough to say he is racist and xenophobic.
“In a desperate attempt to become Virginia’s next governor, Ed Gillespie has eagerly embraced racism and xenophobia. We refuse to stand by as bullies like Gillespie slander our families, call us ‘thugs’ and ‘criminals,’ and portray hard-working immigrants as a national security threat,” said Alex. “Ed Gillespie has made it abundantly clear what he thinks of Latinos and immigrants, so on Election Day, our community will make it clear how we feel about him.”
Gillespie’s team has called the recent ads as part of the “desperate smear campaign against Ed in the closing days of this election.”
“Now his allies have reached a new low with a disgusting, vile television ad seeking to instill fear in our children with that same imagery,” said Chris Leavitt, Gillespie’s campaign manager. “This is not an attack on Ed Gillespie anymore. This is an all-out attack on the people of Virginia. This latest ad gives a clear indication of just what Ralph Northam and his national Democratic allies think of all of us, and it’s sickening.”
It isn’t surprising that Northam’s team is stooping to this low level. According to the recent RealClearPolitics polls, Gillespie now leads by 2 points. Several weeks ago, Northam was ahead of Gillespie in most polls.
“In Virginia, Northam won the Democratic nomination in June after an intense primary contest, with Sanders and Senator Elizabeth Warren backing former Representative Tom Perriello. Northam had the support of Obama-Clinton Democrats like Governor Terry McAuliffe, who is blocked by term limits from seeking more time in office, along with Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine. Northam won a surprisingly convincing victory and Perriello has actively campaigned for him,” writes Bloomberg. “Sanders hasn’t. His political organization, “Our Revolution,” endorsed six Democrats in state legislative races but pointedly declined to back Northam. The Democratic nominee has taken standard liberal positions on taxes, health care and education and favors expanding Medicaid for poor Virginians and liberalizing immigration policies. But he doesn’t back Sanders’s embrace of a single-payer national health-care system and free college education.”
Although Northam lacks the support of some powerful politicians and his smear campaign seems to have already started to backfire, Virginia has only elected a Republican governor once in the last past 15 years.
Author’s note: This is reminiscent of the Trump victory. Gillespie has gained momentum and is now in the lead as the election approaches in just a week. Even though Virginia is geographically mostly Republican, the more metropolitan Northern Virginia has been a Democrat stronghold, instrumental in Clinton’s victory in the state in the presidential election.